Save Money in this Sunday's paper

comments

Nothing spices up your image like the Grim Reaper

By Mark Washburn
mwashburn@charlotteobserver.com

It wasn’t the worst branding campaign I’ve ever seen, but then again, I’m really old.

If Gaston Memorial Hospital had heralded its name change to CaroMont Regional Medical Center by using the slogan “Hug Life,” with two cute cartoon hearts in fond embrace, nobody would have lapsed into cardiac arrest.

Instead, the hospital’s marketing team came up with “Cheat Death.”

On the positive side, it’s attention-getting.

On the negative side, it’s the kind of attention you pay your marketing team to avoid.

First off, cheating is not a core value for most Gastonians.

Secondly, death is a downer, particularly in a medical context. Ask anybody.

When it comes to marketing airlines, banks and hospitals, your policy should be to strictly avoid cutesy, edgy and bold. Leave that for Calvin Klein.

Southwest Airlines doesn’t plant nagging doubts by dreaming up a gag like, “What has wings and goes cheap, cheap, cheap?” Wells Fargo didn’t gallop into town with the cry, “Your investments are going South!”

CaroMont’s slogan was the brainchild of the Chapel Hill agency Immortology, which apparently came highly recommended. Two trustees on the CaroMont board have children who are principals in the firm, so what could go wrong?

Plenty. That slogan was introduced Thursday and pronounced DOA over the weekend. It will go in the marketing hall of fame beside New Coke and that creepy Burger King monarch.

In the spirit of cooperation, I think we should help CaroMont come up with a new slogan. They’ve already spent a chunk of the $2.5 million marketing budget on “Cheat Death” T-shirts, which should soon be hits on eBay.

Here are a few of my suggestions, if attention-getting is still their goal:

• Morgue, smorgue.

• Ask us how you can outlive your wireless contract.

• In heaven there is no beer.

• Visit CaroMont’s shroud stoppers.

• No skeletons in our closets.

• Kick the bucket (down the road).

• Ask your doctor if eternal repose is right for you.

• We sell tomorrows.

• Check out our lifetime guarantees.

• C’mon Gaston – skirt the dirt.

• We’ll keep your form warm.

And, finally:

• Ghost-busters!

Washburn: 704-358-5007
Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more



Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more


Quick Job Search
Salary Databases
Your 2 Cents
Share your opinion with our Partners
Learn More